17 March, 2014

5 Amazing Reasons to Visit Belize this Spring

Belize is a culturally amazing and naturally beautiful country. It is doubly distinguished as the only Central American country to have English as the official language and to be without a Pacific coastline. The nation further prides itself on being Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret. Although natural beauty alone is enough to attract most of us, here are a 5 amazing things about Belize that will get you to start making travel plans #iwannago
  1. Food Festivals
    The first weekend in May features the annual Cashew Festival held at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Enjoy roasted cashews, cashew wine, jam, cake, and other delights.
    Celebration at the San Pedro Lobster Festival.
    The Toledo Cacao Festival allows you to sample some of the highest quality cacao beans and chocolate in the world. This three day event in late May will show you why Belizean chocolate is gaining worldwide recognition.
    Three lobster festivals mark the transition from spring to summer and combine a variety of lobster dishes with music and dancing. The San Pedro Lobster Festival kicks off the fun, followed by Festivals in Placencia and Caye Caulker.                                                            
  2. Kayaking  
    A scene from the 2007 Abergris Caye
    Belize Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge
    Belize boasts fantastic sea kayaking opportunities due to the protection of a barrier reef. Atoll lagoons are also popular and safe kayaking locations. Coastal exploring will reveal the adventure of cave kayaking among the many coastal limestone formations. 
    For the more competitive, Belize hosts multiple Eco-Challenge kayak races to promote awareness and protection of it's natural beauty. Two of the most popular are the San Pedro Lagoon-Reef Eco-Challenge in early April, and the Ambergris Caye Belize Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge in June.                                    
  3. Diving
    Dive the Great Blue Hole.
    Join the likes of Jacques Cousteau by diving Belize's famous Great Blue Hole. This submarine sinkhole was ranked #1 on the Discovery Channel's “10 Most Amazing Places on Earth” in 2012. The Great Blue Hole is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    The entire spring season is great for diving with Whale Sharks near Gladden Spit. This area is a spawning site for a wide variety of fish species, drawing in the Whale Sharks, and curious divers. Diving must be done in an organized group setting for safety, but doesn't limit the adventure.                                                                                                           
  4. Caving
    One of thousands of available caves.
    Belize's amazing Karst topography, made possible by it's extensive limestone deposits, will amaze even the most Speluncaphobic. The natural formations provide amazing scenes of stalactite and stalagmite formations and underground waterfalls. Literally thousands of caves dot the landscape providing enjoyment for all levels of cave enthusiasts. Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre) is ranked #1 on National Geographic's “Top 10 Sacred Caves” and has been featured on Ghost Hunter's International due to it's Mayan archaeological remains, including ceramics, skeletons, and stoneware.                                                                                                                                   
  5. History
    Belize has some amazing Mayan ruins, two of the most fascinating being Xunantunich and
    Caracol. Xunantunich, or the “Stone Woman,” was an important ceremonial center, while Caracol was one of the most important political centers of the Mayan Classic Period. In it's heydey, it was larger and more populous than present-day Belize City.
    Also, visit Lamanai, a partially jungle-covered ruin, currently being excavated by archaeologists. This site was still occupied by Mayans when the Spanish arrived, and consequently is one of only a few sites to retain it's original name.
    You may also visit the annual Archaeology Symposium, July 1st through 4th. For about $10 a day, you can attend symposiums on either of this years themes: Ancient Maya Domestic Economy: Subsistence, Commerce, and Industry, or Archaeology in Belize: Research, Investigations, Results.
Before You Go:
Don't forget to pick up your map of Belize before you go: http://www.gpstravelmaps.com/gps-maps/central-america/belize.php. This excellent map features hundreds of kilometers of roads, waterways, national parks, Mayan ruins, and other points of interest. Travel like a local with your GPS!
Belize Map

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Anonymous said...

I want to go kayaking in Belize! Great post, very informative.

Anonymous said...

Belize looks amazing! I might just take up diving as an excuse to visit the Blue Hole.